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Barack Back on the Block

by AJ Segneri, published

Barack Obama maxhphoto / maxhphoto /

I am a resident of Chicago, IL. Specifically, I live in the same neighborhood President Barack Obama once lived.

On February 15, my neighbor visited Hyde Park Academy, five blocks away from my place. This is the first time Obama has made the trip to speak in Chicago, outside of his presidential victory in the 2012 Presidential Election.

In his speech, he talked about gun violence and how the violence in Chicago “is like having a Newtown (CT) every four months.”

Chicago is one of the most violent urban cities in the United States. 30+ homicides have happened each year in the city, over a 12-year span, from 2001-2012. Of the victims, 55 percent were black, 27 percent had no high school diploma, and 28 percent were under the age of 18.

Most of the homicides occurred in the south and west sides of Chicago, in predominantly underrepresented areas of the city. This past year, at St. Columbanus Catholic Church, a shooting occurred during a funeral of a victim related to a neighborhood gang.

Many people in the south side of Chicago have looked towards President Obama as a leader to speak to the issue of gun violence. Obama worked in the same areas during that same 12-year span where these homicides occurred.

He knows the resources it takes to curb the social problem that is going on in Chicago. However, there are no programs currently in place to do such a thing. There are many people who are upset that President Obama has not addressed this issue since taking office.

“He does not care about this area,” said Marissa Brown, a south side mother of four who is one of many disgruntled residents in the area.

If President Obama did care about the area he lived in, he would take the steps necessary to make sure a plan was in place to address the problem; even if that means to appoint someone that would see to it that something is happening in the south side of Chicago.

From what I saw when he spoke at Hyde Park Academy, his talk does not match what he is actually doing to improve the quality of life in the south side.

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